Both trust and self-control are necessary to prevent intrusive behaviors: Evidence from a longitudinal study of married couples

Asuman Buyukcan-Tetik, Catrin Finkenauer, Sofie Kuppens, Kathleen D. Vohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Many people engage in intrusive behaviors in close relationships. Existing research links intrusive behaviors to a lack of trust and an imbalance between self- and partner-interest. The authors tested the novel hypothesis that people need self-control to regulate intrusive behaviors. Self-control enables people to forgo their self-interests (reassurance or closeness) for the sake of their partner or the relationship. Specifically, we predicted that people need both trust and self-control to refrain from intrusive behavior. One-hundred-eighty-nine couples participated in a prospective longitudinal study with three waves. Consistent with predictions, multilevel analyses revealed an interaction between trust and self-control on intrusive behaviors cross-sectionally as well as longitudinally (albeit marginally). These results provide support for our hypothesis that neither trust in the partner nor self-control is sufficient to forestall intrusive behaviors, but rather both are necessary to refrain from intruding into one's partner's privacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-676
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013



  • Intrusive behavior
  • Marriage
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Self-control
  • Trust

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